Janesville city manager finalist drops out

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Frank Schultz
Monday, August 19, 2013

JANESVILLE—One of the finalists for Janesville city manager has taken his name out of consideration, but the city council will still have five finalists.

That math works because council President Kathy Voskuil proposed, and the council agreed, to keep a list of runners-up for just this purpose, Voskuil said.

Cole S. O'Donnell, city administrator in East Moline, Ill., dropped out for unspecified “personal reasons,” officials learned Monday, Voskuil said. 

Replacing O'Donnell in the group that will visit Janesville later this week is Ryan McCue, who is administrator/clerk/treasurer for the city of Wautoma.

McCue, 38, grew up in Naperville, Ill., and decided to make Wisconsin his home after attending UW-Oshkosh, he said.

He worked in sales and got interested in local government when he became dissatisfied with the city of Cudahy's response to basement flooding, he said. He was elected alderman for that city and later resigned to run for Milwaukee County Board, where he served almost five years, he said.

Unhappy with how Cudahy was being managed, he ran for mayor there and served one term, losing his bid for re-election, but he loved the job of running the city and decided to pursue city management as a career, he said.

McCue said Cudahy, with a population of nearly 20,000, had 179 full-time employees and 39 part-timers. He said he helped manage funding cutbacks without layoffs.

His accomplishments in office include a façade-improvement program that rejuvenated downtown and a program that sent letters to homeowners whose house exteriors were substandard.

The program got 80 percent compliance, a boon to neighborhoods, he said.

Another accomplishment was hiring Milwaukee County's information-technology department to do that work for the city, he said.

After he lost his re-election bid three years ago, he took the advice of city staff members who said he should get experience running a smaller city, he said. Wautoma has a population of 2,200.

McCue was a finalist for village of Mukwonago administrator in May. He said he has not applied elsewhere. Janesville is a good fit for his family, he said, as his parents are in the Chicago suburbs and his wife's parents live in Kenosha.

McCue said he would bring a strong track record in city management, economic development and community relations to Janesville.

McCue earned a bachelor's degree in journalism with an emphasis on advertising and public relations at UW-Oshkosh and has taken city-administration classes at UW-Green Bay, he said.

The finalists are scheduled to be interviewed in Janesville on Thursday and Friday. The council could narrow the field to two, who would be interviewed again on Saturday.


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